North Zone emerge winners in both men's and women's Inter Zonal Softball Championship
Though it might be searing hot in Anantapur (close to 43°C) the Inter Zonal Softball Championship 2015 did not fail to impress all those who witnessed the athleticism showcased by the participating softball athletes from all over the country. Every pitch thrown, every big hit, and all the clever stealing of bases entertained one and all following the competition.
The competition, which began on Friday, the 29th of May, running through until the 31st of May, brought together some of the best softball athletes (both male and female) in the country, most of whom have been to the India camp at least a couple of times. This tournament marks the end of the Softball season, but was used as a platform to motivate younger teams that make way to Mumbai for the PONY games Softball Nationals for U10 & U13 age categories with more enthusiasm and vigor.
The Secretary of the softball Association of India, Dr. Pravin Anaokar, understands the importance of a strong grassroots structure to help build and grow softball as a popular sport in India, therefore viewing this tournament as a stepping stone to recruit young talent to mentor and coach beginners interested in Softball to develop them into competent athletes.
It is these senior players who know and understand the game well and will go on to become coaches to younger athletes from schools and nearby localities, hopes Dr. Anaokar with an optimistic smile. Welcoming the athletes to the tournament, which was held at the Anantapur Sports Academy, Mr. Moncho Ferrer, President of the Andhra Pradesh Softball Association, brought everyone alive with inspiring words, saying that ‘’As sports persons everyone dreams big; to be at the pinnacle of their sport, these dreams can come true, only with discipline, hard work and dedication, but most importantly with Self Belief ’’.
The competition was played in a league format, with the top two teams scoring the highest points playing out the final. In the men’s competition, however, the teams in the league stage were tied with equal points. This meant that the West zone boys edged the home side, the South zone, on loss margin difference to play the North zone in the final. The women’s competition saw similar rivalry, and though the host team South zone had their eyes on the cup, they had to settle as runners-up, losing out while having to try and strike out the winning North zone girls before they could score one home run in the last inning.
This Inter Zonal National Softball Championship, apart from being an attraction to young aspirants wanting to join the sport, was also to be used as a tournament for identifying probables for the softball national camp. The tournament ended with Dr. Anaokar, expressing his gratitude to RDT and its Anantapur Sports Academy and officials for organizing this tournament in an efficient manner, despite the searing heat.